Health: How Low Can You Go?

New guidelines call for heart patients to cut their cholesterol levels even further

Doctors often caution their patients not to put too much stock in the results of a single medical study. After all, researchers are human, too, and can make mistakes. But when five different clinical trials published over three years concluded that lower cholesterol levels would better protect folks at greatest risk of heart attack, the evidence seemed too strong to ignore. That's why the experts at the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) decided to change their guidelines--setting aggressive new targets that will take some getting used to.

The revised guidelines focus on low-density lipoprotein (LDL)--the so-called bad cholesterol. Four years...

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